SHELTER OF HOPE LIFE SKILLS CENTRE   

(Attaining Personal, Family & Community Wellbeing)

A Project of Premese Africa Development Institute

How the interest in the launching of ‘Shelter of Hope’ developed

Our interest to initiate this service was partly triggered by the condition of a relative who suffered severe depression while at University in a foreign country. He was only 19 years when he left Kenya. Many years later we came to realise that was too tender age to cope with peer pressure out there far from anybody he knew for emotional support.  

The second source of motivation which triggered our interest in starting this service for the youth and young adults was the rampant rate of unemployment in our country exacerbated by the effects of COVID-19 in 2020. For variously reasons, girl child happens to be the most devastated by the unfortunate realities of COVID-19. These include concomitant containment measures that led to universal closure of schools in Kenya from March 2020. The idleness of children and youth out of school led to country-wide escalation of crime among youth as well as unwanted teenage pregnancies and early marriages in unprecedented proportions. According to Plan International (June 2020), Machakos alone had 4,000 school-age girl pregnancies between January and May 2020. The total in the country was 151,433 with Nairobi county leading with 11,795 teenage pregnancies in the same period (www.afidep.org). Some these were victims of rape. That’s how motivation and ability for women to aspire to pursue more prestigious and ambitious careers is derailed. As a result, the they become susceptible to wounded adult life.  

Option for training in career skills are also more limited for girls. Cultural bias and prejudice tend to dissuade girl-child from enrolling to train in most technical skills which are considered a preserve of men (boy-child). These include motor vehicle engineering, wood work, construction industry, electrical engineering, computer engineering and such like lucrative skills which attract employment more easily, both salaried and self-employment. Besides, the challenges associated with the management of periodic menstrual cycle lead to high rate of school dropout amongst girls. Some of the few employment opportunities available for girl-child are in food industry (such as in hotels and eateries), beauty and fashion industry (saloons) and nursing among others. Some few will be found in the more prestigious careers such as law.

Ordinary men and women are governed by laws, rules and regulations but great men and women of integrity are governed by their moral conscience’ (Source unknown)”

Our Motto:

Character and Self-Discipline is Everything (Jishinde Ushinde)

(I count them braver who overcome their desires than those who conquer their enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.’ (Aristotle; a Greek Philosopher)

Our Vision:

A healthy society where all its members are socially integrated and actively engaged in leading productive life worthy its dignity.

Our Mission:

Shelter of Hope Life Skills Centre is a private service motivated by altruistic social values. We aspire to facilitate the transformation of lives of many who suffered the challenges occasioned by the economic meltdown experienced country-wide in recent times leading to loss of secure incomes and self-determination of individuals and families. Our aim is to help restore their self-esteem as they reclaim their rightful place in society as productive, dignified,   secure and respected citizens.

Part of the Centre Compound

We are located a few kilometers before reaching Machakos town from Nairobi, Off Machakos Junction, Machakos Road, 1 Km from Chumvi Shopping Centre, after Premese Academy Gate. Reach us on P.O. Box 26061-00504 Tel. 0722 573 296 / 0722292042. Or Email us on: premese2014@gmail.com. Web-Site: www.premesecolleges.ac.ke

Training for personal and community transformation towards change in our values and attitudes

Within each cycle of one week; a fortnight; or a month or 90 days (depending on many factors), we intend to enroll and train 14 to 30-year-old out-of-school teenage mothers and unemployed school leavers (in that same age bracket). We have the option of daily attendance and accommodation arrangements for those trainees who wish to stay at the center. The maximum period of training at any one given cycle is 90 days with a possibility of phased sessions and a comeback if necessary.  

Why we have chosen to focus on soft skills for human growth

Certificates, Diplomas and Degree of Doubt: What Current Employers Are Looking For; According to M. Muendi (as quoted by Opera News of 15.09.2020), unemployment among Kenyans and especially the youth graduating from institutions of higher learning each year has been a challenge for years now. Graduates with Diploma’s, degrees and Masters qualifications have been forced to engage in menial jobs to cater for their day to day needs despite being equipped with knowledge from their areas of study.

Stories of different graduates aired on NTV duped ‘Degree of Doubt’ highlighted plight of different Kenyans who even after working hard in university failed to land their dream jobs. Speaking to NTV’s Rosie Wangui, the Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Kenya Employers, Mrs Jacqueline Mugo, is reported to have claimed that employers were using a lot of resources to (re)train the graduates who completed their studies before they were assigned the jobs. Mugo went on to disclose that employers look for the learning institutions one attended and the curriculum one has gone through, but far from the technical skills most employers are looking for an applicant who as GOOD ATTITUDE to the job opportunity.

She mentioned other qualities employers are looking for besides technical skills. These are SOFT SKILLS in terms of communication, writing skills, respect, discipline, how one fits in a team, how one takes up corrections from seniors, an applicant who is able to go beyond the call of duty and share out creative ideas, ability to complete a task, one who can be trusted to deliver a certain assignment before the deadline and without having to be followed-up; just to mention but a few. Emphasis on these soft skills will go a long way to bridge that gap between the needs of the labour market and the graduates.

⇒To inspire and motivate the target group towards change of mind-set from resignation to fate to a new out-look to a life of rejuvenated hope for a greater, better, brighter and more noble future.

⇒To transform attitudes and values of dependency among the youth that have kept them pinned down to false expectations from paternalistic relationships with their seniors such as illusionary and futile promises of ‘connections’ by godfathers and godmothers (the ‘Big-Man Syndrome’) some of whom want to take advantage of their hopeless situation.

⇒To dissuade the target group from perpetual dependency on their parents.

⇒To chart out a career future for financial self-support of the target group. This will be developed through apprenticeship placements followed by part-time formal training to create a career path towards their economic independence.

⇒To help the target group attain personal development in self-understanding and discovery of their own personality traits with a view to improving on the same.

⇒To enable target group discover their inherent potential and talents which are yet to be perfected or fully developed.

⇒To equip the target group with interpersonal relationship and communication skills under our strong conviction that ‘two are better than one’. While alone I may go faster, it is only together that we can go further. While alone you may smile, it is only with others that you can laugh. Alone, you can be happy but together with others you can celebrate.

PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ISSUED WITH CERTIFCATE OF PARTCIPATION/ATTENDACE FOR THE BENEFIT OF POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS

We believe: character and credibility are everything there is

It has been established beyond doubt that employee productivity in any given organisation will largely depend on staff attitude and values much more than the technical skills they possess. According to research by Harvard and Stanford Universities, 85% of the reasons a person gets a job and keeps it is due to attitude and only 15% is due to professional knowledge or technical skills they may have. (Source: Kumekucha Amua Newsletter, November/December, 2001, p. 12 – Catholic Justice and Peace Commission/NCCK, Nairobi).

So, our niche in training and education is in the formation of positive attitudes and values, over and above knowledge and skills impartation. What pertains to the desired change of attitudes? Attitude is either optimistic (positive about something and with excitement); or pessimistic (negative, demoralized spirit). Attitude is governed by the way we think, perceive or interpret situations that we find ourselves in or choose to remain in. Sustainable motivation is that which is intrinsic, voluntary and from the heart, and not that which is extrinsic, that is, externally induced through supervision; threats or rewards (Quinn, 2002:22). It is only those employees who do the work they like to do, who are most motivated to accomplish a fine job, not necessarily those who earn the largest awards for what they are meant to do. 

A wise man once admonished employers who seek to interview with intention to hire great employees to look for three things: Intelligence (Aptitude); Competence (Skill); and Integrity (Credibility). He warned that an employee who misses the last quality, will use the first two qualities to kill the employer’s enterprise. That’s one other reason we strongly believe graduates from Shelter of Hope Life Skills Centre will more easily be assimilated in the job-market since they will bring with themselves this added value: Not necessarily greater technical skills, but better attitudes and positive attitude towards team-work. In turn they will benefit from on-job coaching and part-time technical training in their places of attachment which we will arrange for them.          

We aim at targeting two categories of youth in the society for our training for capacity building

Community Grassroot Leaders: These include school leavers and school dropouts who, for various reasons, could not accomplish their dreams of education. Shelter of Hope Life Skills Centre is a service that has been well meditated upon in relation to building grassroot leaders who give life to their communities. These often happen to be school leavers and school dropouts of ages varying between 14 and 30 years. We believe our youth in communities, whether in the country-side or in our townships, possess a lot of potential for personal, family and community transformation towards more fulfilling life styles. No wonder we have family groups, youth groups, women groups, religious groups as well as many other similar groups within communities which groups discharge vibrant life into the society. They form the breathing lungs in the life of their communities. In a nutshell, the purpose for mounting this kind of training is to upgrade these grassroot leaders with edifying knowledge and skills that will stimulate creative thinking and innovations with renewed insights on new possibilities.    

Most of these groups are under the leadership of inspired youth gifted with great sense of hope and wisdom. These are experienced community leaders some of whom do not even possess shinning academic credentials. Yet they are making history in their communities where they imprint legacies of their contribution in society. It should be noted that Christian religion has undoubtedly become the greatest and most powerful movement on earth yet it was built through ordinary fishermen and tax collectors whom the founder trained and mentored closely enough to become shakers and movers of the world.  

Most of us who believe to be more enlightened to qualify as capacity builders live in the cities and urban areas. It is the catechists, group leaders, village headmen, women group leaders, village youth leaders, community activists, community animators, and such like frontline leaders who are making a difference in transforming lives in communities. These would need our support in enlightenment and value-addition.

Unemployed University and College Graduates: This is the second category of target group for the proposed orientation. Those who are fortunate enough to have gotten good measure of exposure through tertiary education and travels are the ones who continuously build the enabling capacities of the grassroot leaders.

It is those same ordinary men and women in our communities who are impacting the society in amazing ways. It is not the highly educated who are in the frontline, daily interacting with and transforming the lives of communities.

Service with clear purpose and focus

Shelter of Hope Life Skills Centre is a service that has been well meditated upon in relation to building grassroot leaders and community life at large. We believe our people in communities, whether in the country-side or in our townships, possess a lot of potential for personal, family and community transformation towards more fulfilling life styles. No wonder we have family groups, youth groups, women groups, religious groups as well as many other similar groups within communities which groups discharge vibrant life into the society. They form the breathing lungs in the life of their communities. In a nutshell, the purpose for mounting this kind of training is to upgrade these grassroot leaders with edifying knowledge and skills that will stimulate creative thinking and innovations with renewed insights on new possibilities.    

 

Most of these groups are under the leadership of inspired people gifted with great sense of hope and wisdom. These are experienced community leaders some of whom do not even possess shinning academic credentials. Yet they are making history in their communities where they imprint legacies of their contribution in society. Those who are fortunate enough to have gotten good measure of exposure through tertiary education and travels are the ones who continuously build the capacities of these grassroot leaders.

 

Christian religion has undoubtedly become the greatest and most powerful movement on earth yet it was built through ordinary fishermen and tax collectors whom the founder trained and mentored closely enough to become shakers and movers of the world. It is that foundation laid down by those ordinary disciples with courage and good will which impacted the world over two thousand years later. Where are we heading to with this kind of analogy? We are heading to the conclusion that it is ordinary people like you and I who will transform our society and not necessarily the mighty and famous. We only need to be mentored into appropriate attitudes that can help lead people to attain their aspirations and pull themselves out of debilitating poverty by their new awareness and self-liberating attitude. This is contrary to the old-age practice of waiting for free handouts from leaders which in turn make them subservient to the interests of those leaders.      

 

It is those same ordinary men and women in our communities who are impacting the society in amazing ways. It is not the highly educated who are in the frontline, daily interacting with and transforming the lives of communities. Most of us who believe to be more enlightened to qualify as capacity builders live in the cities and urban areas. It is the catechists, group leaders, village headmen, women group leaders, village youth leaders, community activists, community animators, and such like frontline leaders who are making a difference in transforming lives in communities. These would need our support, and not necessarily in material and monetary form but more so in building their leadership capacities. Other forms of support may follow after. Their capacities are built through training, awareness raising and one-on-one mentorship and apprenticeship among other forms of capacity building. These will include exposure to other similar efforts which have worked elsewhere.

AREAS OF FOCUS IN TRAINING FOR HUMAN VALUE ADDITION

⇒Effective leadership models

⇒Interpersonal communication and relationship skills for bonding

⇒Effective communication, public speaking and listening skills

⇒Job-creation – prospects and problems  

⇒Salaried employment – gainful option, prospects and problems

⇒Conflict management and negotiation techniques

⇒Managing depression, anxiety and stress

⇒Time management for efficiency  

⇒Enhancing self-esteem by building self-confidence through study of personality traits; self-understanding and self-retrospection

⇒Personal development agenda – milestones of human development

⇒Preventing child abuse – sexual, physical, emotional & psychological

⇒Dealing with religious related complexities that lead to gullibility  

⇒Basic family therapy – battling marital issues like domestic violence

⇒Team building in an organisation, group or team

⇒Trust-building from interpersonal to group level

⇒Taming our ego and creating demeanor of humility within us

⇒Counselling for creating overcomers  

⇒Dealing with challenges of early teenage pregnancy

⇒Combating depression – symptoms and the role of medics, family and community

⇒Managing identity crisis such as self-acceptance in puberty

Apprenticeship placements: This pertains to referrals and placements to organisations for talent development in individual trainees as per their areas of interest such as: Plumbing; School Uniform Tailoring; Electrical Wiring; Starting and Managing Small Business; Masonry; Carpentry (Maintenance of School Furniture); Child Care; Home-making Skills (cookery, table setting & Table manners; ironing, washing and detergents); Music and Movements, Instrumentation, Sign Language, Agroforestry, etc.)   

‘Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who conquers a city’ (Proverbs 16:32).

“To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle field”. (Dalai Lama)  

‘The greatest gifts you can give your loved ones are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence’. Denis Whitley     

Hope Never Disappoints

Let’s hang on to hope in our new beginning  

⇒‘Hope doesn’t disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us’ (Romans 5:5).

⇒There is a Pakistan saying that goes: ‘The most important thing in life is not so much where we are coming from, nor where we stand today, but in which direction we are moving towards the future’. This precisely summarizes our vision and purpose in the ‘Shelter of Hope Centre’.

⇒Groups share knowledge and experiences which serve to complement one another’s strengths and neutralize your weaknesses.

Hope never disappoints:

“When we face challenges that lie just beyond our ability, we enter into the realm of faith and hope. It is as we face new frontiers in our lives that we truly encounter what our Creator has endowed us to do. Don’t be afraid to desire to accomplish more in life no matter what circumstances you may find yourself battling out with. Hope will see you through. For hope gives us the strength to walk away from failure and move on to our destiny” (Source: God’s Little Devotional Book for Leaders” Lighthouse Inspirational Books, 1997).

 

“The same way we overcame many other circumstances of life in the past, even this one we will overcome”.  1st Samuel 17:36-54

OUR CENTRE ANTHEM

Niumbie Moyo Safi, Niumbie Moyo Mpya

Niumbie moyo safi,
Niumbie moyo mpya,
Moyo wa kunyenyekea,
Na kubondeka mbele zako

OUR EARNEST PRAYER (PSALM 51:10-13)

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew your Holy Spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.

Then I will teach your ways to the rebellious,
and they will return to you.

 

WEEKLY TRAINING MODULES

MODULE 1 – PERIOD ONE TO TWO WEEKS (SELF-DISCOVERY)

Self-Discovery – Loving the guardian Angel in you; Understanding self and others; Four Life Positions; Four Personality Characters; Johari’s Window Theory; Maslow Ladder of Human Needs; Personal development and milestones of human development; taming our ego; creating demeanor of humility within us; managing identity crisis (e.g. self-acceptance in puberty)

Teamwork What constitutes a team; Rivalry amongst colours of rainbow; Harmonizing different personalities in a team (Animal Characters); Trust building in organizational teams; Team building in an organisation or group;

MODULE 2 – PERIOD ONE TO TWO WEEKS (LEADERSHIP)

Effective Leadership Models – What is leadership; Different styles of leadership; Jethro’s principle of leading from behind; the art of delegating; Prospects and problems in self-employment through job creation (vis-à-vis salaried employment);

Effective Communication Interpersonal communication; Relationship building; Effective listening skills; Public speaking; The theory of communication dissonance; Different levels at which conflicts emerge;  Conflict management and negotiation techniques;                                                                               

Effective Time Management – Time management with efficiency             

MODULE 3 – PERIOD ONE TO TWO WEEKS (FAMILY THERAPY)

Managing Depression – Symptoms of stress and depression; Managing anxiety; enhancing self-esteem by building self-confidence; Combating depression; symptoms of depression and the role of medics, family and community 

Child Abuse – Various forms of child abuse (sexual, physical, emotional & psychological); Symptoms of child abuse in an family; Preventing child abuse; Dealing with religious related complexities that lead to gullibility and depression

Basic family therapy – Battling with marital maladies; preventing domestic violence; addressing wife battering; counselling towards creating overcomers;    dealing with challenges of early teenage pregnancy;

MODULE 4 – PERIOD TWO TO THREE WEEKS (HOME SCIENCE)

Home Making Skills – Critical roles of domestic managers; child care and child minders; cooking and cookery; table arrangements and table manners; food storage; bed making; dish washing; agroforestry skills in seedling and making seedbeds; grafting seedlings; home fence cutting and compound curing; 

MODULE 5 – THREE TO SIX WEEKS (FIELD PLACEMENTS)                                                             

Field Attachment – Preparation for field attachment; field observation; actual field attachment.

HOW DO YOU CHANGE ATTITUDES? CERTAINLY NOT BY ‘TELLING’ AND ‘DICTATING’ AS LISTENERS TAKE NOTES! NO. BUT BY DIALOGUE AD DISCUSSIONS

TO INSTILL VIRTUES OF KINDNESS TO YOUR FAMILY OR GROUP FOR INSTANCE:

⇒Use kind words in your family or group to teach the virtue of kindness, e.g. say ‘Please’, ‘May I’, ‘Excuse me’, etc.

⇒Together in the family or group, brainstorm to make a list of kind things people do for others

⇒Model kindness in words and deed e.g. show compassion, be gentle to others when they make mistakes, practice forgiveness. Let them know making a mistake is normal but repeating a mistake is abnormal

⇒Give sincere compliments or praises to the members of the family where its due.

TO INSTILL VIRTUES OF CREDIBILITY & INTEGRITY

⇒What is it you loath being done to you by others?

⇒What is it you think your employer would be so happy to see in you that he or she would hesitate to retrench you when retrenching others?

⇒What are the standard behaviors you would be pleased to see in your own domestic workers?

⇒What are the qualities of a good employee?

⇒What would you hate to hear your employees do in your absence as their boss? Etc.

⇒What are the common or typical short-cuts or mistakes employees commit only later to blame poor motivation by their boss or employer.

⇒What do employees truly expect when they talk of being properly motivated? How can you tell when motivation is sufficient?

⇒Under what circumstances can one be excused for lying to their seniors?